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Feature Article


Dealing With Divorce

Nina Chen, Ph.D., Human Development Specialist, Jackson County, University of Missouri Extension


It is always hard to deal with divorce. Everyone in the family is hurt. Feelings of anger, sadness, depression, helplessness, loneliness, and guilt are common for separating or divorcing people.

Divorce is another type of loss and a difficult transition. It takes time for people to adjust or heal. In particular during the first year after divorce, people usually have a tough time re-establishing their social circle or lifestyle as a single again. They may feel hopeless and want to withdraw from their friends. They may feel shame and try to be alone and avoid people's criticism or judgment. Some of them may feel abandoned or blame self or someone else for causing the divorce.

Divorcing adults often experience mixed feelings, emotional pain, stress, and sadness. All of these feelings are normal. Acknowledging the feelings and finding healthy ways to express them are important parts of the healing process. One way to do this is to find a support group of people who are in a similar situation. Support groups can be found through churches or counselors, or by locating the nearest Parents Without Partners chapter: If there is not a support group near where you live, or you are unable to attend meetings, talk to someone you trust about your feelings. You may talk to your close friends, family members, or your church pastor or counselor or find professional help such as a marriage counselor or therapist.

Planning for the future is another important component of the healing process. You may want to return to work or school. Having something to do or a plan in mind is vital for you to keep going. As the Chinese expression says "Where there is a will there is a way." As long as you set your goal and try your best to overcome difficulties, you will be in a better position to succeed. You may struggle in financial issues or making decisions about what to do. List pros and cons in terms of your needs and priorities which can help you decide which should go first. Finding resources and support from others is helpful to set your plan and eliminate some barriers.

It is common for divorced people to ignore their health, such as over eating, lack of appetite, or sleep disorders. Keeping a healthy diet, having enough rest, and exercise are needed to be in your plan.

Spend time with others and keep your life more pleasant. For instance, you may want to be around your friends who have a good sense of humor which may help you develop a sense of humor and look at your life in a positive way.

The above are some suggestions, however, everyone has different ways to deal with divorce. You are the one who knows which best fits your needs. Adjusting to divorce is a process that takes time, so allow yourself time to heal and remember to focus on one day at a time.


GH 6601 Focus on Families: Divorce and Adults



Last Updated 05/11/2009


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